No woman's land : marginality, liminality and non-traditional women in New Zealand : decade between early 1970 - early 1980
Hollebon, Janice Marion
Are non-traditional women marginal to their society? This study purports to examine correlations between theories of liminality and marginality and the small group process within the New Zealand Women's Liberation Movement. Fieldwork follows the statement of Victor Turner that non-traditional women remain marginalised due to their inability to resolve their ambiguity. The observation of van Gennep that persons in diverse cultures perform rites when crossing a threshold (limen), led to his developing a model applicable to the rites that are performed to signify the life stages of members of traditional societies. The central phase of these ‘rites de passage’, he terms "margin", a crucial phase of transition between the initiate's existing status in society and the one to come. Three phases are discerned within liminality, separation, margin (limen) and aggregation. Each measures the distance and stage of the novice in relation to society. Further research has directed Victor Turner and followers such as Paul Friedrich, toward extending and developing this model to other forms of liminality associated with decisive cultural change. This investigation is an attempt to research one aspect that Turner has classified: the liminal phase of non-traditional women attempting to alter the status and position of women in their society. Since adaptations of "liminal theory", (after Friedrich, 1978), and certain observations from hippie culture by William Partridge (1973), appear to have analagous characteristics and patterns, these have been worked into the thesis. Global Women's Liberation networking systems create communication links, bolster solidarity and accelerate change. The Consciousness-Raising educational and action process, is the prime means incorporated by the women's movement to develop self-realisation and growth for all women. Effected initially within the small group process, this is archetypal in its quest for knowledge. Correlated empirical studies have proceeded intermittently in the form of participant-observation within local topic-oriented groups and within one small group in particular, the Core Group. Problems peculiar to New Zealand, including geographical isolation and pluralism, have set the scene for the cultural ethos of feminism in this country. The current focus overall, disregarding internal fractures, is an attempt to meld the political with the personal, with its resultant sexual-gender emphases. This movement emerges as relative, and marginal, to the instituted social system, evidenced in various counter-cultural and a-cultural expressions to be described. As a minority sector and microcosm, it remains related to wider macro influences, both non-traditional and traditional. The concept of liminality provides a suitable methodological tool, to expand knowledge and understanding of those marginal to their society, specifically the New Zealand Women's Liberation Movement, as well as of women in general. It is intended that this research may develop further possibilities in the use of this concept.
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Anthropology
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis
x, 91 leaves :ill. ; 30 cm. Includes bibliographical references. University of Otago department: Anthropology